Friday, January 1, 2010

1001 Albums You Must Hear....epics

What are the longest albums on the list? Surprises coming up.

Elsewhere I will rant about the curse of the CD. But for now we will look at epics that worked. By Epic I mean an album that runs for longer than 90 minutes. This is double album or more in vinyl. And you can't fit it onto a C90 cassette.

There are only 17 epics on the list. Perhaps this is an indication of how hard it is to sustain a creative high for such an extended period.

From shortest to longest the 17 Epics You Must Hear Before You Die are

Van Morrison - It's Too Late to Stop Now - 1974 - 92 mins
A stunning live double LP - some say the best concert album of all time.

Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - 1974 - 92 mins
In the same year that Van was getting real, prog was at its zenith. This is the last album that Peter Gabriel recorded with them.

The Beatles - The Beatles (White Album) - 1968 - 94 mins
Yes, of course.

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew - 1970 - 94 mins
What a cast - Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Miles, Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Joel Zawinul

Drive-By Truckers - Southern Rock Opera - 2001 - 94 mins
A country rock band releases a double CD rock opera in 2001. And its good. Who woulda thunk it?

Bob Dylan - Live 1966 (Royal Albert Hall Bootleg) - 1998 - 95 mins
An acoustic set followed by an electric set with the band that became The Band.

Goldie - Timeless - 1995 - 113 mins
Another surprise - nearly 2 hours over 2 CDs of jungle/breakbeat. Gotta say I'm sceptical - I need to check it out.

Hawkwind - Space Ritual - 1973 - 116 mins
Double live album while Lemmy was still on bass.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Will the Circle Be Unbroken - 1972 - 119 mins
A triple studio LP with NGDB and country luminaries recorded in Nashville.

Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - 1995 - 121 mins
Double CD in which Billie Corgan puts his money where his mouth is.

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass - 1970 - 126 mins
Triple LP - tough to get a look in when the other two songwriters in a band are Lennon & McCartney.

Metallica - S&M - 1999 - 133 mins
2 CDs or 3 LPs - another "who woulda thunk it" moment as Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra combine metal and symphony and emerge with reputations in tact.

Roni Size/Reprazent - New Forms - 1997 - 134 mins
Man, I've really gotta scrub up on my drum'n'bass.

Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below - 2003 - 135 mins
One way of keeping a duo together in the face of musical differences - make an album each and bundle them together.

LTJ Bukem - Logical Progression - 1996 - 141 mins
Released a year after Timeless (see above) - like 113 mins is for wimps.

The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs - 1999 - 173 mins
Three hours in 3 CDs of indie pop?! Another one I need to check out.

Ella Fitzgerald - The George Gershwin Songbook - 1959 - 194 mins
At 5 LPs / 4 CDs easily the epic champion and a fitting one at that. Take that, drum'n'bass guys.

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